More on Kicker’s New Smart Amp

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Kicker KEY Smart amplifier

Kicker announced at CES a new smart DSP amplifier about the size of a brick that tunes itself with the press of a button.

The new KEY180.4 Smart Amplifier, which Kicker calls “revolutionary” is expected to ship in February at a suggested retail price of $249.

The amp is small enough to install behind the dash.  Users place the included microphone on the car’s head rest, push a button and walk away.  They can return in  5 minutes put the mic away and their amp is tuned to suit the car.

The sound stage is raised and timing automatically set.

The amp has 180 watts of power and can work with start/stop vehicles down to 6 volts.

Kicker’s John Myers called the KEY180.4 “The simplest-to-tune dsp/amp you will find. It turns the average sound system into a live performance.”

The amp is being demonstrated at CES in a Fiat 500 with factory system including factory speakers.

It uses a patent pending algorithm.

From the Kicker press release:

The button press sets the KEY’s test tones and proprietary algorithms in motion. The system detects speaker sizing, applies a 24dB crossover and 40 channels of equalization, applies time alignment and customizes the gain levels of each channel independently.

KEY technology uses FIT2™ (Fail-Safe Integration Technology) and start/stop compatibility to work with nearly any vehicle on the road today. Once installed, the amp can be activated via remote 12v signal or DC offset.

KEY technology also employs a unique method of controlling heat and virtually eliminating the need for a protection mode. Faced with thermal overloads, traditional amplifiers force the listener to experience volume “pumping,” even a possible shutdown, or the fuse simply blows.  KICKER engineers created a dynamic system that engages a inaudible limiter/compressor applied only to the peaks of the music for as little as milliseconds at a time. The temporary drop in power results in the amplifier cooling and a cancellation of the compressor. Music then returns to its full dynamic range without a moment’s inconvenience or interruption.


KICKER KEY180.4 Smart Amplifier Specifications

Multi-Channel Model (at 14.4V)       KEY180.4                    

Power (watts/ch) 4 Ohm Stereo:        45 x 4

Height (in, cm):                                  1-11/16, 4.3

Length (in, cm):                                 7-3/8, 18.7

Width (in, cm):                                   2-3/4, 7

Frequency Response (Hz):                20-20k

Signal to Noise Ratio:                        90dB, a-weighted, re: rated power

Input Sensitivity:                                125mV-10V

Crossover:                                         Selectable Off/60/80/120Hz @ 24dB/Octave

Bi-Amp Capability:                             Yes (Defeatable)

Auto Time Delay:                               Yes (Defeatable)

Auto EQ:                                            Yes (Defeatable)

Auto Turn-On:                                    12v or DC Offset

Start/Stop Compatibility:                    Yes






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  1. Sounds like a slightly more powerful (power wise) version of the JBL MS-8….would like to get my hands on one to play with.

  2. Heads up to all. I spoke with two Kicker reps, separately, at CES and both said MSRP is $199 and the article on CEOutlook is incorrect.

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